Fearless


In making Sully, legendary director Clint Eastwood has created an amazing epic about an event most would deem TV movie fare. True, the movie is the shortest of his career, running at just 95 minutes, but it is nothing short of astounding in every sense of the word, a film that is moving, suspenseful and, in presentation, the first of its kind.

Based on a true story that made international headlines in 2009, the film deals with the human psyche as well as presenting the enduring legacy of its title figure. Tom Hanks (Angels & Demons) brillaintly portrays Captain Chesley Sullenberger as a man thrust into the public eye, all for keeping people safe in a moment of extreme crisis — he is shocked and haunted by what-if scenarios in his mind, and it only gets worse when the airline companies and insurance firms butt in, trying to find some damning evidence to ruin him and his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart, The Dark Knight), all while having to deal by proxy with his wife (Laura Linney, John Adams) and daughters’ stress of being daunted by the press outside their home.

If it sounds as though I’ve downplayed the acting capability of Mr. Eckhart and Ms. Linney, my apologies, for they are fantastic as well, providing a moral compass to guide Sully and keep him resolute in a time of great stress. Just as impressive is the smaller but very necessary focus on a few of the passengers aboard Flight 1549, which could easily have slowed down the film to the dreaded level of boredom most disaster films suffer from. Thankfully, the passengers focused on only help us as viewers to fear for their safety. Believe me, there are moments in this film where, even though you know how the crew and passengers end up, you cling to your seat for dear life and gasp in terror.

As I said before, Sully is the first film of its kind in that it’s filmed almost entirely with IMAX cameras — 95%, according to IMAX Corp., and the difference is staggering. If there is an IMAX theater near you, you are doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t see it in the aforementioned format. The screen fills to the complete 1.90:1 IMAX aspect ratio, and the sound was mixed for IMAX first, so you’re getting the best balance and listening experience here and here alone. However, a format doesn’t guarantee a great film, but you get one here, thanks not just to the innovative octogenarian Eastwood, but his go-to cinematographer Tom Stern (Hereafter, American Sniper) and first-time Eastwood company member Blu Murray as editor. The film, occasionally jumping from event to event, is a seamless, much less coherent, experience.

While the Hollywood intelligentsia and some of the public may not think much of Eastwood now due to his politics, I urge you to put those views of his to the side and enjoy the film as it stands — a salute to heroism under fire, and thus far, the best motion picture of the year.

Rating: 5/5

Monster Dearest

The red smoke from those flares bear semblance to my wrists post-film.

I have never been insulted by a film’s stupidity until now. This decade’s edition of Godzilla is soulless and lost, wasting cast and crew over the course of two hours and three minutes.

In this reviewer’s eyes, the fault lies on the shoulders of writer Max Borenstein (emphasis on “Bore”), whose asinine talents would be better put to use writing the imminent My Little Pony movie. I honestly couldn’t tell you what the film is about, due to the fact that Borenstein’s script bears a constantly moving plot that never stops to think of what is being said and/or done. Moreover, it’s riddled with tired, cringe-worthy clichés and glazes over plot holes of various sizes. The kingpin offense is how the film is secretly a sequel (you read that correctly) to the 1954 original — a most unworthy one that rides the tail of its predecessor by bearing its same name. It’s as if Borenstein watched Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland for inspiration.

Further, I seem to remember that Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) wrote an (obviously) unused draft of the film which portrayed the film’s titular monster as he was shown in the 1954 original — a living, terrifying metaphor for the dangers of the nuclear age. Specifically, Darabont sought not to render him as a protector of humanity, which is the way he was in the film’s sequels — in his words, “he became Clifford the Big Red Dog.” Guess what Godzilla is in the finished film.

Unlike Borenstein’s writing, Edwards means well in his direction — Make no mistake, the film is an eye-and-ear candy binge, particularly on an IMAX 3D screen. From visuals alone, Edwards’ future as a director looks bright, but he deserves a better script for his freshman outing. Speaking of, the cast present in this film is incredible, but again, they suffer from an utterly destitute script that renders their talents either flat or hysterical.

There’s little to appreciate, let alone love, in this mess of a monster movie, save for the visuals and sounds brought to the film by Gareth Edwards. Here’s hoping Borenstein doesn’t get welcomed back for Edwards’ upcoming Star Wars spinoff.

Rating: 0.5/5